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A lorry driver has won the right to damages from his employer, after he sustained an electric shock resulting in him suffering life changing injuries. Our client, Gary Chisholm, suffered the injuries after the lorry he was operating came in to close proximity or made contact with power lines.
On 10 December 2018, a Judge ruled that D&R Hankins Ltd’s health and safety procedures were not adequate and that Mr Chisholm can recover damages.
Mr Chisholm was a tipper lorry driver at the time of his accident in February 2016, when he suffered life changing injuries including burn injuries and a below knee amputation of his right leg.
His job involved the collection, delivery and transportation of a variety of products. Part of his job was to ensure there was no cross-contamination of loads. In order to clean his trailer he had parked his vehicle in a layby along which ran 11kV electricity power lines at a height of 7.3 metres. The trailer touched, or came into very close proximity with, high voltage overhead power lines.
The case centred on D&R Hankins Ltd’s health and safety procedures, with Mr Chisholm’s barrister, Daniel Lawson, describing the employer’s risk assessment procedures as “inadequate”.
Following the ruling, Mr Chisholm issued the following statement:
“The trial has been an incredibly stressful time for my family and I. I now hope to be able to put this chapter behind me and focus on my rehabilitation.
“I want to thank Nichola Fosler and Daniel Lawson, my legal team, who have supported me throughout the process.”
Mr Chisolm suffered severe burn injuries affecting 25% of his body surface. He underwent multiple surgical procedures including a below knee amputation of the right leg. He has extensive bodily scarring. He has reduced function in his right upper limb and suffers pain in the amputation stump, right elbow and back and phantom limb pain. There is a 15% risk of his stump failing which would result in him requiring a trans-femoral amputation of the right leg.
Nichola Fosler of Stewarts, who represented Mr Chisholm, said:
“This was a terrible accident which has affected Mr Chisholm’s life forever. This judgment hopefully highlights the need for employers to provide adequate training and to have systems of work in place to avoid accidents involving overhead power lines.”
Mr Chisholm’s accident and case were covered in the regional news – click here to the Cambs Times coverage.
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